- Santos Rodríguez was assassinated in Dallas in 1973.
- The boy was killed by a policeman who played ‘Russian roulette’ with his gun.
- Dallas Police apologized to Rodriguez’s family.
It took 48 years for the family of the young Santos Rodríguez to receive an apology from the Dallas Police, after one of their officers took his life when he was just 12 years old. The minor died in 1973 in Texas of a gunshot wound to the head, when police officer Darell Lee Cain was playing “Russian roulette” with his gun.
Now, 48 years later, Eddie Garcia, head of the Dallas Police Department (DPD), offered the boy’s family a public apology on behalf of the corporation for his tragic death. The young Santos Rodríguez, born in Texas to immigrant grandparents and parents from Mexico, died on July 24, 1973, handcuffed with his brother David Rodríguez, sitting in a DPD patrol, when police officer Darrell Lee Cain investigated and interrogated them for a alleged theft of $ 8 at a gas station. The boy died after being shot by a policeman.
Police apologize for the murder of the boy Santos Rodríguez
Darrell Lee Cain put the gun to the boy Santos Rodríguez’s head to force him to confess to the theft of the 8 dollars with his brother. The two brothers denied the theft. Then Officer Darrell Cain placed his revolver to the boy’s temple and told him that he was going to play ‘Russian roulette’ until he confessed to the petty crime. Until he fired a shot.
The investigation of the case confirmed months later that the brothers Santos Rodríguez and David Rodríguez had nothing to do with the theft of the $ 8 from the gas station, since their fingerprints were not on the counter, nor on the cash register, nor at the cigar machine, nor at the door of the gas station where the robbery took place.
“I’m sorry … we’re really sorry”
Eddie García, along with other DPD agents, attended a religious ceremony on the anniversary of the death of the child Santos Rodríguez and appeared in front of Bessie Rodríguez, a 77-year-old woman and mother of the children, to offer an apology for the past July 24 for the crime of the patrolman Darrell Lee Cain and that he took the life of one of his children.
“On behalf of the Dallas Police Department, and as a parent, I am sorry… we are very sorry that someone you should trust to protect you, someone who was wearing the same uniform that I am wearing today, took your son’s life and life of David’s brother, with a homicide, ”said Eddie Garcia.
The tragedy of the child Santos Rodríguez
Eddie Garcia, who took over as DPD chief in February 2021, is the first head of the corporation to step up in the department’s history to offer a public apology to the family of a Dallas police abuse victim. , Texas. The details of the case, consulted by MundoHispánico, give an account of the tragedy of Santos Rodríguez.
The death of the child Santos Rodríguez will remain in the history of the criminal annals of Texas, as one of the cases that has caused the most pain and indignation to the large immigrant community of Hispanics with Mexican descent. Officer Darrell Lee Cain was a white Caucasian and was only in jail for a little over two years after his crime.
The mother of the two children was in jail
In the details of the crime there are a series of elements in the context of the lives of Santos Rodríguez, 12 years old, and David Rodríguez, 13 years old, that must be explained first. When the incident occurred, the two children were living under the legal custody of their paternal grandfather, Mr. Carlos Minez.
Bessie Rodríguez, the mother of the two children, had been in a prison in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ, for its acronym in English) with a sentence of five years in prison, after being found guilty of the murder of her 62-year-old boyfriend Leonard Brown. Bessie Rodríguez’s boyfriend was not the father of the two children.
The two policemen arrest and handcuff some children
At age 12, the boy Santos Rodríguez was on his way to becoming a tall, muscular man. Despite his age, coming out of childhood and into adolescence, he was already 5 feet 10 inches tall. His arms and legs were long. He loved playing sports and competing against his brother David Rodríguez, who was also very tall for his age.
On Tuesday, July 24, 2021, Santos Rodríguez and David Rodríguez were inside their home when they saw two DPD patrolmen enter in a violent way, without a search warrant. Police officers Darrell Lee Cain and Roy R. Arnold took them out of their home, handcuffed them, and put them in the seat of their cruiser.
The old man could not stop the arrest of his grandchildren
The brothers lived in the neighborhood known as Little Mexico (Little Mexico), of houses owned by the City of Dallas and provided to the low-income Hispanic community for a modest rent. Agents Cain and Arnold charged Santos Rodríguez and David Rodríguez with the theft of $ 8 from a cigar vending machine.
According to the testimony of Roy R. Arnold, the two officers detained the Rodríguez brothers because they both matched the description of the Hispanic boys who had stolen the cigar machine from the gas station, located at the corner of Cedar Spring Road and Bookhout Street, the previous night. The boys’ grandfather, who did not speak English, saw their arrest.
Santos Rodríguez stood firm despite threats
When the two agents began to question Santos Rodríguez and David Rodríguez, they demanded that they confess to the crime. Neither boy broke down and they maintained their innocence, demanding to be released. They knew nothing of the robbery they were accused of at the gas station a few blocks from their home.
Then Officer Darrell Lee Cain pulled out his .357 Magnum revolver and placed it on Santos Rodríguez’s head, demanding that he confess. The man began to turn the barrel of the gun, load, and squeeze the trigger. The first time there was no bullet but, according to the testimony of David Rodríguez, the agent told his brother that he would not always be so lucky.
The bullet that killed Santos Rodríguez
Despite having the gun to his head, the boy Santos Rodríguez insisted that he had nothing to do with the theft of the $ 8 at the gas station. Officer Darrell Lee Cain turned the barrel of the revolver again and pulled the trigger. The bullet killed the Santos Rodríguez child immediately. His brother’s blood covered David Rodríguez, who was handcuffed next to him.
David Rodríguez recalled during the trial that he yelled at his brother to resist, that he would be fine, without knowing that he was already dead. Darrell Lee Cain exited the patrol and told his partner Roy R. Arnold that the gun had gone off by accident. The two policemen took almost 30 minutes to report the incident.
Darrell Lee Cain was convicted of “malicious murder”
It was not the first time that DPD Officer Darrell Lee Cain had been involved in the murder of a young man who was not a white Saxon. The criminal records of the case detail that he was previously involved in the murder of the young African American Michael Morehead, during the investigation of another case in Dallas, but was not charged for that crime.
In 1979, after several legal recourse by his lawyers to delay the trial, agent Darrell Lee Cain was sentenced to five years in prison for “malicious murder” in the murder of the child Santos Rodríguez. However, he only served two years and six months and was released for good conduct from the Watts Unit in Huntsville, Texas.
The murderous cop lived a full life with his wife and children
After being released from prison, Darrell Lee Cain lived a full life as an insurance adjuster in Lubbock, Texas, alongside his wife, three children, and a granddaughter, until he died in March 2019 at the age of 75. In the obituaries that were made after his death there is no mention of his past as a police officer in Dallas, when he killed Santos Rodríguez.
David Rodríguez, in an interview with the newspaper The Dallas Morning News, declared that to this day he remembers himself in the back of the patrol, covered in blood, speaking with his brother Santos Rodríguez and asking him to resist and not die. Almost half a century later, the DPD has already apologized for the crime.
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